When I wrote about the funny TV show Ted Lasso, some readers expressed regret that they do not subscribe to Apple TV+, the only. place where you can see it. This raises a problem that I think is going to get more acute with time, and that is that we may be entering a world where certain films and TV shows will be inaccessible to some segment of the population.
It used to be simpler, at least when it came to films. Films were released in theaters and if you missed it on its first run, you waited until it was released in some video form that you could rent it fairly cheaply from your neighborhood video store or borrow from your public library. You were guaranteed some form of easy access to all films. But now film makers and distributors have another option and that is to create their own subscription streaming service to show their own shows. So now in addition to Apple TV+, we have Disney+, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, Paramount+ and many more. This website tells you where you can find a particular film or TV show to stream.
So where does that leave the viewer? Will there come a time when we will not be able to see a particular film or show unless we either subscribe to a particular streaming service or buy it online, even if we are not sure if we will like it and just want to see it once? If so, there may be some films and shows we never get to see, which would be a pity.
The problem for most streaming services is that Netflix, being the first out of the gate, has got a lot of subscribers and all these other services are competing to be the add-on second or third option for viewers. So their market share is going to be necessarily small, where the ones with a big catalog of content have an advantage. I, for one, do not watch enough films or TV to justify more than one subscription and I got Netflix a long time ago and see no reason to change. The only reason I got to see Ted Lasso is because Apple threw is a free one year subscription to Apple TV+ to anyone who purchased an Apple device like a computer or iPhone. When Apple TV+ was launched, their big promotional show that was meant to lure subscribers was The Morning Show starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Steve Carrell. After I got my complimentary subscription, I watched a couple of episodes and did not care much for it and stopped watching, showing how risky it is to subscribe to an exclusive streaming service based on its marquee offerings.
I see the next few years as being in great flux before we arrive at some kind of equilibrium.